Many Christians and even church leaders are under the mistaken belief that Jesus was a Jew. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the New Testament, the English word ‘Jew’ is a translation of the Greek Ioudaios (Yehudah-os), a Judean or inhabitant of Judah (Yehudah) – Judea – the former territory of the tribe of Judah (Yehudah).
Judea and Galilee were two separate states and political entities, as any Bible with maps of the Holy Land in New Testament times will show. Jesus Himself was not a Jew (Judean) living in Judea – he was a Galilean who lived in Galilee (Matthew 26:69, John 7:41), although a descendent of the Tribe of Judah. The Judeans of prominence were not of Judah, but of the evil Edomite people. Pilate was using irony when he wrote ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews [Greek = Judeans]’ (John 19:19) – i.e. ‘the Galilean who was King of the Judeans’, as in ‘Queen Victoria of England, Empress of India’. Jesus grew up in Nazareth in Galilee. His disciples were fishermen from the Sea of Galilee. Christ visited Jerusalem, but spent most of His life in Galilee. John 7:1 says, ‘After this Jesus stayed in Galilee; He could not stay in Judea, because the Jews were out to kill him’. His followers were constrained ‘for fear of the Jews’ (John 7:13, 19:38, 20:19).